Yes, it’s back – the Hottest 100 Australian Craft Beers poll returns for a fourth run, giving you the chance to tell us which beers amazed you in 2011.
Since its launch by The Local Taphouse in 2008, the annual poll has doubled in size each year – in keeping with the rapid growth in popularity of craft beer. Last year The Crafty Pint sponsored the poll and, this time around, in the spirit of togetherness, Australian Brews News is joining the action too.
As in past years, all you have to do is cast your mind back over 2011 and try to recall which beers were the standouts for you. And in an improvement on past years, the voting process has been made more user-friendly. Taphouse staff member Andrew Mitchell has put together a voting form that allows you to pick your favourite beers from a drop down list rather than having to type them in yourself. There are around 750 in the list (yes – 750!), but if there are any you’ve had and loved that aren’t there, you can email us and we’ll get them added pronto.
If you want a reminder of what’s been on offer this year, The Crafty Pint ended up putting nearly 150 limited releases in their SPECIAL BEERS section in 2011. Alternatively, if you already know your top five and are ready to vote, simply head here and click away.
Once again, the top 100 will be revealed on Australia Day, which means there’s less time to vote than in previous years. However, because of the spiffing new automated system, voting will be open right up until 11.30pm on January 25, just in case you need to revisit a few favourites before casting your votes. And, in keeping with past polls, one voter will be selected at random to win a case of each of the top five beers, provided those beers are available in packaged form. Where a beer isn’t available, we’ll move to the next one in the list.
If you need any convincing that the Hottest 100 is a great idea, then this is your chance to have your say. With beer awards, there are any number of formats and ways of deciding who’s won, but sometimes it is the people’s choice approach that unearths some overlooked gems. The Hottest 100 looks at beer consumed the way it is naturally – not under award judging conditions that are usually very technical and can take beer out of its natural context.
We often debate the merits of various beers as we convene for a cold one with our friends. This gives everyone with an opinion about a beer the chance to vote for it and see how it stacks up against the favourites of others. What’s more, Australia Day has, unfortunately, come to be associated with some of the least attractive aspects of drinking. This lets us reclaim the day for beer’s best characteristic: flavour. The Hottest 100 is a popular celebration of the best beers from the best breweries in Australia and puts the most positive face of our national drink forward on our national day.
Taphouse co-owner Guy Greenstone says: “The Local Taphouses in Sydney and Melbourne have run a Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Brews poll for the past three years with the results always causing much debate.
“We’re not necessarily looking for the number one selling craft beer nationwide. Rather, what are the favourite craft beers people have tasted this year? For the purposes of this fun poll, the beer must have been brewed in 2011 in Australia by anyone other than macro-brewers’ main operations. The beer must have been commercially for sale (even if it’s just at the cellar door) on draught or in bottles.”
So there you go. Will Vale Ale follow up on its surprise victory from last year? Will an old favourite rise to the top once more? Will a newcomer appear from nowhere to surprise us? Will you find 120 awesome beers landing on your doorstep soon? Either way, grab your mates, crack a few of your favourite beers and some mates and get voting!
(While you’re in a voting mood, why not cast a Logies vote too to try and secure a Logie for good beer!)